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Searching for the optimal territorial structure: The case of Spanish provincial councils

Author

Listed:
  • Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá

    () (Department of Business, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)

  • Diego Prior

    () (Department of Business, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)

  • Mª Teresa Balaguer-Coll

    () (Department of Accounting and Finance, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain)

  • Emili Tortosa-Ausina

    () (IVIE and Department of Economics, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain)

Abstract

Modern states are organized in multi-level governance structures with economic and political authorities dispersed across them. However, although there is relatively widespread consensus that this form of organization is preferable to a centralized authority, the same cannot be said about its jurisdictional design, that is, how to transfer authority from central states to both supranational and subnational levels. This lack of consensus also exists in contexts with explicit initiatives to strengthen political ties such as the European Union (EU), and even within EU member countries, a situation that is aggravated by the relative scarcity of contributions that measure the advantages and disadvantages of different territorial organizations. We explore these issues through a study of one EU country, Spain, whose provincial councils (diputaciones) are often the subject of debate and controversy due to their contribution to increasing public spending and their purported inefficiencies, corruption, and lack of transparency. Specifically, we combine a variety of activity analysis techniques to evaluate how they impact on local government performance. Results suggest that, in general, the presence of a provincial council has a positive impact on local government performance, but when their activity levels are too high the effect can become pernicious.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabel Narbón-Perpiñá & Diego Prior & Mª Teresa Balaguer-Coll & Emili Tortosa-Ausina, 2019. "Searching for the optimal territorial structure: The case of Spanish provincial councils," Working Papers 2019/03, Economics Department, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón (Spain).
  • Handle: RePEc:jau:wpaper:2019/03
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    local government; multilevel analysis; panel data; performance; provincial council;

    JEL classification:

    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General
    • R15 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Methods

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